Few providers collecting patient-reported outcomes

Less than a quarter of survey respondents say patient data is consistently reviewed.

Providers are beginning to incorporate patient-reported outcome information into their records, but the level of that activity remains low, a recent survey has found.

Only 18 percent of respondents said their organization always reviews patient-reported outcomes (PRO) to guide care, but 72 percent who rarely or never review PROs indicated they will start using that information within one to three years.

Data analytics vendor Health Catalyst conducted the survey, gathering data from 100 healthcare professionals via an online survey in May and June.

Interest in patient-reported outcomes is growing within healthcare. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is pushing for more patient-reported outcomes information, starting with patients who have had knee or hip replacement surgery.

For now, with reimbursement levels increasingly being tied to measures that include outcomes, most hospitals are not prepared to incorporated patient-reported outcomes, said Paul Horstmeier, senior vice president at Health Catalyst.

Patient-reported outcomes include symptoms as well as information on physical, cognitive, social and emotional function, and overall health-related quality of life.

Outcomes measurements traditionally have been more limited to concrete results, such as death. “But for most of medicine, the question is no longer whether someone will survive, but how their life will be after treatment,” said Caleb Stowell, MD, vice president of standardization and business development at the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement, which studied results of the survey.

For now, four barriers remain to incorporating patient-reported outcomes, the survey found. These include time and money (mentioned by 36 percent of respondents), working patient-reported outcomes into physician workflows (26 percent), organizational resistance to change (10 percent) and lack of leadership support (4 percent).

Only 15 percent of respondents noted technology as a significant barrier, as mobile devices and wearables can ease collection of PROs.

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